During me recent trip to Vilnius I had arranged to go on a “photography expedition” with my good friend and colleague Antanas (or the man of a thousand cameras as he is known to his friends). My two previous outings with him had involved visiting a very old cemetery and a part of Vilnius at the end of Gedimino g. with some very interesting housing, both very old and some new.
He knows that I am interested in old industrial buildings and steam trains so I was keen to find out what he had in store for me on this visit. On this outing our friend Renata had come along to supervise and keep us in order and to correct any facts that we may get wrong during our discussions.
We met outside the cathedral and then caught a trolley bus eastwards out of Vilnius to what I was told was one of the “less salubrious” areas of the city and where there was quite a lot of poverty and deprivation. We got off the bus after about twenty minutes in the middle of what seemed like nowhere and began our little exploratory walk.
In fact we were in the district of Naujoji Vilnia, which is a neighborhood in eastern Vilnius situated along the banks of the Vilnia River. It started as a separate town in the second half of the 19th century when the Warsaw – Saint Petersburg railway was built. It grew as a narrow strip along the rails. Then another major Libau – Romny railway line connecting Vilnius to Minsk was built. Before Vilnius passed to Poland in 1920, it had a number of small manufacturing shops including wood products, yeast scythes (known as Russian litovka), knives, paper and knitting mills.
Eventually we came to a fairly run down factory which proved excellent for taking photographs (not that our supervisor Renata was that impressed) and I subsequently discovered (thank you Antanas for your research) that the factory we visited, had been during Czarist Russia times the biggest scythe factory in the world (it was called Posselia or Factory of Emil Possehl). In the beginning of 20th century it had 100 workers and produced near 3 millions scythes every year.
Now it just looked as though it had seen better days and looked in a fairly dilapidated condition. However, it was a very atmospheric place and ideal for taking stark photographs of machinery, a railway line and just a crumbling building………….and just one person around and he appeared to be “asleep.”
The photographs I have posted below will perhaps provide some images of this old factory.